Grizzlies aim for second straight win vs. Knicks
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The Memphis Grizzlies will seek consecutive victories for the first time since October when they continue a three-game homestand against the New York Knicks on Wednesday.
The Grizzlies have rebounded from one of the worst stretches in franchise history -- losing 19 of 21 -- with five wins in their last 10 games.
The next hurdle in a potential second-half run at a playoff spot in the Western Conference -- stringing wins together.
The Grizzlies have followed their last nine wins with losses, including 87-78 at Denver on Friday after they had beaten New Orleans 105-102 two days earlier.
Dillon Brooks poured in season-high-tying 19 points when Memphis beat the Los Angeles Lakers 123-114 at home on Monday to kick off the homestand.
The rookie's season has mirrored that of the Grizzlies in many ways. He's scored in double figures 13 times, but on the previous 12 occasions, he followed it up with single-digit production nine times.
Nonetheless, interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff has stuck with him as a starter for the last 34 games.
"Coach keeps telling me to shoot with confidence," he noted after Monday's win. "When I hit my first shot (against the Lakers), I started to feel good."
Brooks never experienced that feeling when the Grizzlies visited New York last month. He took just two shots, missing them both, and went scoreless for one of four times this season.
Brooks wasn't the only Madison Square Garden visitor who struggled in the 99-88 loss. Tyreke Evans, the Grizzlies' top offensive player in the absence of Mike Conley, struggled through a 4-for-13 outing, and Memphis shot just 41.4 percent overall.
The Knicks have held only four opponents under 100 points since then, and enter the second night of a seven-game trip having surrendered an average of 111.3 points in their last 10 outings, seven of which they lost.
The New York defense has been so bad of late, the Knicks have scored 118 or more points in three of their last four games and yet have only one win to show for it.
That victory came in Brooklyn on Monday, when New York's bench accounted for 70 points in a 119-104 triumph over the Nets in the opener of the Knicks' trip.
"It's going to be huge," Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis said of the trip, which will continue west after Wednesday's stop in Memphis. "It's going to show us where we are right now. We've been so close so many games on the road. We're right there. All we need is to stick together, finish the games better and I'm sure the wins are going to come."
The Knicks have gone just 5-15 on the road. Since winning at Cleveland in October, their only road success has come at Brooklyn twice, and at New Orleans and Dallas.
Porzingis had 26 points, while rookie Frank Ntilikina narrowly missed a triple-double with 10 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds, helping the Knicks end a three-game losing streak Monday against the Nets.
The Knicks haven't won at Memphis since March of 2011. Their current six-game road losing streak to the Grizzlies has come by an average of 11.5 points per defeat.
Updated January 17, 2018